Carrot Energy Balls

Carrot Energy Balls

We are big fans of The Natural Nurturer. She loads veggies in everything she makes so when we saw her no-bake carrot balls we decided to make it our way with a little help from the cub.

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We started by cleaning the carrots. The cub really likes peeling. The safest way to teach a kid to peel a carrot is to have it flat on the counter and to peel away from their body.

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Use a grater with a handle and make sure it is on a flat non-slip surface. We also taught the cub to hold the end of the carrot and thoroughly explained why the grater could hurt her hands and fingers if they got too close. She did an excellent job completing the task.

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After the carrots were added, the cub added the oats, dates and peanut butter.

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With precision she added the chia seeds and honey.

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A colorful mix of ingredients. No baking – just mix well.

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Grandma Didi had fun teaching the cub how to roll the balls in her palms.

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So much goodness in a bite-sized energy ball.

 

Carrot Energy Balls

(adapted from https://thenaturalnurturer.com/2019/06/12/no-bake-peanut-butter-carrot-balls/)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrot (about 1 medium sized carrot)
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey or less
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 dates pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips(mini if you have them)

Directions

  1. Combine the carrots, peanut butter, honey, oats, chia seeds, dates and chocolate chips in a bowl.
  2. Mix until all ingredients are blended evenly.
  3. Chill in your freezer for 30 minutes. This helps make the batter to form into balls easier.
  4. Roll tablespoon size balls between your palms.
  5. Place the balls on a cookie sheet and chill in your freezer for about 2 hours or until firm.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Sweet Potato Brownies

Wow, Wow, Wow, these are good! They are sweet, moist and have the perfect amount of chocolate flavor to satisfy any sweet tooth!

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The cub began by mashing one whole avocado. Grandma Didi pre-cooked and mashed one sweet potato to save on timing. You have to work quickly when cooking with young children.

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We were out of jared applesauce so we used our squeeze pouches. The cub loved this task!

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Proud of her stirring skills – she hasn’t questioned why they look nothing like brownies.

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Learning to crack and egg isn’t easy, but you have to start somewhere. She’s almost got it.

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The kitchen has gained a new member. Little cub is crawling and wants to be part of the action. She’s already a great eater! We haven’t really found anything she hates and we can’t wait for her to start cooking one day.

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In goes the arrowroot, baking soda and salt!

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We had a cloud of chocolate cocoa powder after dumping it in from too high!

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Now they are looking like brownies! Cooking with kids is not always perfect. You must be flexible to your environment and what works best for the child. The cub needed a break so Grandma Didi demonstrated the next step. Nothing was lost in this experience.

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After baking in the oven, perfect little brownies were formed. They are so delicious. We handed them out to some family members and their jaws dropped when they found out what they were made of and that they had no refined sugar. You need to make these!

 

Sweet Potato Brownies

(adapted from https://draxe.com/recipe/sweet-potato-brownies)

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato puree
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup agave (original recipe called for honey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (original recipe called for coconut flour)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Optional –  nuts, chocolate chips, etc

 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Grease 8×8 pan with coconut oil(or other oil) and line it with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl, combine avocado, sweet potato, applesauce, agave and vanilla. Once creamy, add in cacao powder.
  4. Add in eggs one at a time.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine  flour, arrowroot flour, salt and baking soda.
  6. Combine both mixtures until smooth.
  7. Transfer to greased pan and bake for 25–35 minutes.

Immune Boosting Popsicles

Immune Boosting Popsicles

Preschool germs! Yuck! They are inevitable and impossible to avoid, but our hope is that if we eat the right diet we can reduce our chances of getting sick.

“Let food be thy medicine, let medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

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The Cub loves popsicles, so what better way to get her to eat a mixture of foods that will help improve her immune system. Let’s break down the ingredients.

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We began by removing the skin from the turmeric. Warning: it stains! So this was a job for Grandma DiDi! Did you know Tumeric contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties? Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.

We used another powerful spice, ginger, which is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We peeled the ginger as well and chopped it up. The cub added it to the blender.

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We juiced Cara Cara oranges and lemons, both packed full of Vitamin C. A necessary vitamin to fight colds. Plus, they are juicy and sweet! And the Cubs personal favorite, Mangos! She chopped the meat and placed it in the blender.

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The Cub gets help from Grandma DiDi squeezing the juice of the oranges and lemon.

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And of course, she had to try the oranges for herself!

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And the mango. Yum!

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Next we add the honey. Honey is packed full of antioxidants. This powerhouse phytonutrient can have antibacterial properties and is a great sugar substitute.

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After all the ingredients were added, little cub joined to blend it up. She loves the noise and the vibration of the blender.

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After all was blended until smooth, we poured the mixture into our Tovolo popsicle molds.

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Into the freezer they go.

immune14Slurp! Delicious and a perfect afternoon snack to help us stay healthy this season!

 

Immune Boosting Popsicles (recipe from relish.com)

Ingredients

  • tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • cups diced mango
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece of turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (OR 2 tbsp ground turmeric)
  • 1/3 cup honey

 

Directions: 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and place in the freezer.
  2. When ready to enjoy, run pop molds under warm water to release the popsicles.

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

When we started this blog a little over a year ago, we hoped to build an online archive of new and old recipes for our family as well as make memories along the way. We’ve done just that, and this recipe is one that has been passed down through the generations in our family. You’ll even see from the directions that you just kind of need to know it to make it. From this Christmas forward, we hope to carry on the tradition of handing out these delicious Chocolate Applesauce Cakes to our dear friends and family.

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Decked out in her Christmas red, The Cub helps scoop the flour.

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“Grandma, you scoop and I’ll level,” proclaims The Cub.

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Next they added the cocoa. The Cub added, “Like the movie Coco!”

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This recipe includes all the yummy spices that make up the season. Together they sniffed the allspice.

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In goes the applesauce with a plop!

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Th cub uses her William Sonoma Lil’ Bear spatula to taste test the batter! Cub approved!

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Stir, stir, stir!

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The cub then adds in the raisins. We had half a bag left so we just let her dump them in.

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Working on her knife skills, The Cub helped chop some walnuts. She’s getting so good at chopping and enjoys it too!

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After the batter is mixed well, The Cub and Grandma DiDi added the batter to the greased mini loaf pans. The Cub is careful not to spill any.

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Cooked to perfection! With a hint of chocolate and a whole lot of Christmas spice! We hope you share our favorite holiday recipe for your loved ones! And if you do, we would love to see your finished product. Tag us #thekitchencub.

 

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • 2 TBSP cocoa
  • 1 tsp salt, cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • ½ cup shortening (canola oil)
  • 1 cup raisins, golden or regular
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

These are the directions that were passed down… 

  1. Mix all together and pour into greased loaf pan and bake in 350 oven for approximately 1 hour. 

 

Directions we actually used: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking soda, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg.
  3. Add applesauce and oil and mix until batter is well blended.
  4. Add raisin and walnuts.
  5. Grease each pan with cooking oil. Pour batter into loaf pan making sure not to overfill as the bread will rise.
  6. For mini loaf tins bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick runs clean.  If using whole loaf pan, bake for approximately 1 hour.
  7. Cool for 20 mins and serve! Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for a week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Farm Days

Farm Days

Have you visited your local farm lately? We took a trip to ours and learned about veggies, giving back and kindness.

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We danced our way in and were greeted by a wonderful quote.

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“I would like to go to the fields and glean among the ears of grain behind someone who may show me kindness.”

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The greatest part about our local farm is this – they only take pay-what-you-can donations for what you buy. Hard not to want to support such a great cause.

Grandma DiDi shops at this farm weekly and always gives a little extra. She takes the cub from time to time. I hope the cub learns to be as generous as her Grandmother who gives so much to others. And not just with monetary contributions, but with her time. She’s the greatest example of kindness to others.

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“What are these?”, Grandma DiDi asked.  The Cub explained that they were carrots hiding in the dirt!

Teaching youngsters where food comes from gives them greater appreciation and understanding for what they are eating!

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The Cub headed to the chickens to see what they were eating. The farm feeds the chickens all their own produce. On the menu today – eggplant.

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Grandma DiDi explained the difference between curly kale and dinosaur kale. The cub couldn’t wait to try some.

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Fresh produce and sunshine!

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Heading back to the farm stand to buy some produce.

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Grandma DiDi and the cub decide on some dinosaur kale. The cub gets to pick her favorite bunch.

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The Kitchen Cub was here… Get out and support your local farmers. Take your kids along   for a fun adventure.

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And guess what??? She ate the dinosaur kale raw when we got home. 😋

 

 

 

 

Savory Pumpkin Bread

Savory Pumpkin Bread

Fall has arrived and that means everything Pumpkin! Grandma DiDi has been experimenting in the kitchen and whipped up this savory pumpkin bread!

The cub is at an age where not every morning is created equal. As she navigates her big emotions, we often invite her toys to join in on the cooking process to keep her engaged. Whatever it takes! 🙂

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The cub began by cutting the chives. She followed Grandma DiDi’s lead.

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Next up, they mixed all the wet ingredients together starting with the pumpkin.

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Followed by the yogurt. The cub is at an age where she wants to do everything by herself. We guide her with assistance when needed.

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Stir, whip, mix! The cub loves this part!

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Now the cub helps add the dry ingredients.  In goes the flour.

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Nothing better than the smell of spices! Even ones that aren’t sweet.

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A new fun activity is grinding the pepper. She can do it all be herself!

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In go the chopped chives! Sprinkle them everywhere!

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The cub takes her stirring duties seriously. With all that flour, the dough is getting really thick! “Look how strong I am,” the cub explains!

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Again, the cub is not always willing to participate. And she does want to do everything herself. Grandma DiDi has to offer help in this scenario. The cub does not approve.

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Once the dough is added to the bread pan, the cub gets to sprinkle hemp and chia seeds to the top. Now it’s time to bake!

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Ding! The bread is cooked to perfection. Perfect for a sandwich or just warm with butter or a cheese spread! Dig in!

Savory Pumpkin Bread
(Adapted from chefdehome.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup non-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • ¼ cup oil (canola, olive or oil of choice)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP fresh chives or thyme (or both if you’d like)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (more for top)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds (more for top)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 350. Grease a 5 X 9 inch pan
  2. In a medium bowl, add wet ingredients: eggs, oil, and yogurt. Whisk to break eggs and mix in yogurt. Add pumpkin puree and combine well. set aside
  3. In a large bowl, add dry ingredients: flour, spices and sugar. Mix well with fork to distribute evenly. Add wet ingredients in 3 batches and fold in until flour is moist and well blended. Add seeds and herbs.
  4. Transfer to prepared baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes then loosen sides and turn out of pan.
  5. Slice thin and toast with butter or make sandwiches. Suggested ideas are cream cheese and olive, turkey and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly actually works, too!

Artichoke and Dip Dip

Artichoke and Dip Dip

The ancients considered the artichoke full of health benefits, including uses like a diuretic, a breath freshener, and even a deodorant. Thankfully we’ve developed different forms of deodorant over time.

Grandma DiDi grew up a few miles away from the artichoke capital – Castroville – and recalls it being a staple at the dinner table when she was growing up. We hope to pass the same memories onto the cub. And this veggie is a good source of folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K. Artichokes are also packed with antioxidants; they’re number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.

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The cub begins by seasoning the water, that we used to steam the artichoke, with herbs, garlic and oil.

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While the cub takes an apple juice break, she watches Grandma DiDi carefully cut and trim the artichoke outer leaves.

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The cub can’t wait to use the scissors to help trim the leaves.

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While the artichoke steams on the stove, the cub helps prepare the dip dip.

The base of ours is greek yogurt. You can also use plain melted butter or mayonnaise as a dip.

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The cub added mustard to the yogurt.

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Then curry for added flavor. She mixed it up and waited for the artichoke to finish cooking.

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Once the artichoke was complete, the cub dug in with a big munch! She loves artichokes!

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Enjoy! What kind of dip do you like to use when eating an artichoke?

Artichoke and Dip Dip

Ingredients

  • Fresh artichokes (as many as you would like)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried Herbs de Provence or oregano
  • Enough water to cover half of the artichokes

Dip Dip

  • 1/2 cup good plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp curry powder (depending on your taste – start light)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Wash the artichokes well under running water; pulling leaves out a bit to rinse away any dirt or residue
  2. Trim top off with serrated knife and pull outer smaller leaves. If you want, snip all leave tops off with scissors (this removes little stickers on tips of artichoke leaves).
  3. Place right side up in saucepan that will comfortably hold the number of artichokes you are cooking. Fill with water to about half way up artichokes.
  4. Add oil, herbs, and chopped garlic to water.
  5. Place artichokes on stove over medium heat and cover.
  6. Cook for 30 – 45 minutes or until artichokes are tender when heart is pierced with a knife or fork. When the artichokes are done, drain all of water off and turn them upside down to make sure all water is out. (keep an eye on water level – it can evaporate so you may need to add more hot water during cooking time)
  7. To make dip, blend yogurt, curry, garlic powder and mustard together. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for an hour.
  8. Artichokes can be eaten hot, warm, room temp or cold and hold for days in refrigerator after being cooked.

Notes:

  • When choosing artichokes at the market, look for those with leaves that are tightly closed and when the leaves are squeezed gently there is a squeaking sound. These are the freshest!
  • Artichokes can also be placed on a steamer plate to cook.